Ursula von der Leyen alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders spoke at the Future of Europe conference which seeks to bring together nations to tackle the continents medium to long-term problems. During her speech, she addressed the issues of the EU which some believed were “too involved” in their lives, adding the world was “fragmented” and therefore a reason for European unity. She added the world was “full of contradictions” but did not make reference to the European Union’s own internal struggles and misinformation surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Speaking at the conference, Ms von der Leyen told attendees and viewers: “Some feel Europe is too involved in their lives and for others it is far too far away and too remote and too detached.
“This is an opportunity to see how we can find the right balance.
“For some, Europe is too institutional and mechanical in the way that it works, this is an opportunity to see how we can simplify it and make it more down to earth where it is needed.
“For some, the narrative of peace is not as compelling as for others, this is an opportunity to help build a new common purpose for all Europeans.
“We see how important that is when we look at the world around us, globalised, fragmented, full of contradictions and confrontations.
“It reminds us of the importance of a shared sense of purpose and that none of us can go it alone.
“The pandemic has been traumatic for people in Europe and around the world, it will be a formative part of so many lives and many parts of society.
“And like all trauma, we need to find a way to talk about it if we want to move beyond it.”
Hungary was forced to secure vaccine contracts outside of the EU’s joint procurement programme as they suffered delays and a surge in cases.
Countries like Ireland, Sweden and others disagreed with France and other member-states who were pushing for more restrictive vaccine export powers to address the fall in supply earlier this year.
The EU has also urged the US and other powers to ramp up their vaccine exports as they do which sees nearly half of all vaccines manufactured in Europe exported to other countries.
Many laboratories and pharmaceutical factories are based in Europe and have struck contracts with countries to supply their vaccines.
The UK is set to lift its next round of restrictions on May 17 as its vaccination programme is one of the best in the world.
Over 17 million people have received two jabs and are therefore fully vaccinated in the UK with plans now being put in place for under-40s to receive their dose.
The Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisations (JCVI) says it will look into providing alternative jabs for the new round due to the higher risk of blood clots among younger people.
There have been 249 blood clotting cases from the over 28 million administered AstraZeneca vaccines in the UK.